Hydrogen Planes Show Promise—and Their Limitations

The case for using hydrogen on very short flights is looking stronger. Investors shouldn’t read too much into what this says about the future of aviation.

Earlier this month, ZeroAvia announced an investment by American Airlines, which will potentially order up to 100 of its hydrogen-electric engines for use in regional planes. The British-American startup has preorders for around 1,000 engines after adding a raft of new partners, who will join United Airlines, Alaska Airlines and British Airways. ZeroAvia founder and chief executive Val Miftakhov said some U.K. airports are also about to sign on to help develop hydrogen infrastructure.